Friday, June 18, 2010

Happy Anniversary!

Today is a day of anniversaries of sorts for me.  8 years ago, I reached a huge (and I really mean HUGE) weight and had to really make some drastic changes in my life to get things under control.  I needed a new hip, was in awful pain every day, and no surgeon would even consider doing that surgery unless I lost at least 100 pounds.  Sooo......  the journey started 8 years ago today and here I am a little over 200 pounds lighter.  7 years ago (yesterday) I did get a new titanium hip that has set off alarms all over the world.  My wonderful husband also joined in the journey and shed 170 pounds himself.  Since that time, we have traveled the world, climbing the Great Wall of China, the Acropolis and ventured to places that we never dreamed of.  Some of you never saw this "side" of me while others (and you all know who you are)  cheered me on to success (but cared about me large or small)!  Here are a few "before" shots and the last one is of us just recently in Cabo San Lucas.  Life is Good!   Carole

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Beach Tile Scene with Border

I got the beach scene put together and I've added one border for now.  I am going to look at it for a few days to decide if I need to add another border or two.  My thoughts were to find a fabric that had some type of nautical theme and then another solid border after that, but the more I look at this, the more it just may stay as it is.  I think the blue that Jerry picked out really makes the rest of the picture look really nice and I'm glad I did not go with my first choice of the red.  (Thanks honey, for stepping in and going shopping with me to find this fabric)  And for any of you reading this--this is not something that he does often.  Lately, he has assisted me in the sewing room to help me organize, going through the tutorial of threading and operating "Bella" and an occasional look see in to what I'm doing.  Somebody I work with saw this tile scene and said it looked just like "Cape May".  Now I've never been there, but I told her I'd ask the designer.  So Steve, if you see this, let me know. 

Now that we are in the planning stages of the big sewing room, Jerry is going to be a little more involved at least until it's done and everything is moved.  The architech is coming over tonight to do the final approval stuff with the contractor and work is set to begin in the next two weeks.  I'm giving up a few cruises to help make this work....  I'm such a whiner!  Oh how worth it this will be in the end!!  Happy (REALLY HAPPY) Sewing!  Carole

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Block 9 "The Last Beach Scene Block"

The final block has been stitched (close to 84,000 stitches).  Block 9 is the other side of the fence line and looks almost like a mirror image of block 7.  I am in the process of putting all the blocks together.  This can be a challenge.  Everything has to line up close to perfect.  I will have to do a little pulling and stretching to make it work.  I will use invisible thread on top and have decided not to use anything to cover the seams.  I don't want to distract from the picture.  So.... with this post, I'm only going to show you block 9 and as soon as I put everything together, short of quilting it, I will post a picture with the total scene.  Hard to believe that I've gotten this far in just over a week.  Stay tuned for the finished product.

Other exciting news for the week is that my dream sewing room will become a reality over the summer time frame.  We will be adding 500 square feet of sewing and crafting space to the house.  I knew someday that all this property would have a use and can't think of a better way to get rid of some of the yard work.  I will post pictures of the progress throughout the summer.  All my machines will have ample space and I will even have a section for all my scrapbooking supplies.  This will truly be craft/quilt/embroidery central.  Ready girls?  Happy Sewing!  Carole

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Beach Scene Block 8

I really enjoyed doing this block.  Not only am I just one block away from completing the picture, it had the big flip flops in it.  I'd like to think it's ME taking off my shoes and running on this beach instead of putting on my shoes and heading to the office......  or maybe staying in my bare feet and sitting right here sewing....  Guess it's okay to day dream a little bit, right?  I found some really nice border fabric with the help of my husband who was brave enough to not only birthday shop for Jayden (our grandson who will be 5 this weekend), but to go to on the search for fabric.  He actully stood in line for me while I grabbed a few extra items.  I'm still in the hunt for another border.  Something nautical I think.  If I can't find the right thing, I'll just stick with the solid.  Happy Sewing!  Carole

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Beach Scene Block 7

Block 7 starts the final row and is a very high stitch count block.  Nice to be on the final row.  This block took well over 6 hours and I did get up and let it run a few times leaving the baby monitor on to hear for funny sounds.  I lucked out and it went well on auto for the most part.  I am really loving those pre-wound bobbins which seem to let the machine go forever without stopping except for the occasional color change.  Enjoyed an evening out for wine tasting last night with friends and slept for about 4 hours straight.  A record this week.  I'm off for a nap right now as when tired calls, I better let it happen if I can.  Happy Sewing!  Carole

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Beach Scene Block 6

Row 2 is complete for the beach scene with block 6 now done.  This block had around 68,000 stitches and makes the picture quilt really come together.  It's a tranquil picture that I wish would help my sleep pattern.  One of my friends told me yesterday that I needed to sleep more to regenerate, but how wonderful that I can get so much sewing done.  I think I'd like a happy medium.  Yesterday was Hoopsisters block of the month club (This was block 5 and I've yet to sew out block 1).  I plan to start after I finish this project.  The last Hoopsisters block of the month was started when I was 4 months behind and I ended up finishing pretty close with everyone else, so in that aspect I'm ok.  The afternoon was spent in EQ6 class (soon to be EQ7).  Christina and I are trying to get a handle on this quilting software.  Time seems to be the biggest issue...  There is just not enough of it!  I finished the day with a quick stop over to my friend Tammy's house to discuss ummmm.... quilting!  I finished up the day with a stop to buy a few birthday presents for my grandson and to pick up some take out for dinner.  A long, but eventful day!  Now on to block 7.  Happy Sewing!  Carole

Friday, June 11, 2010

Beach Scene Block 5

Block 5 put me officially at the halfway point and I really enjoyed doing it.  The "sand" fabric, used on the sand castle looks even better than I thought it would and certainly made for a great result.  This block had almost 84,000 stitches and took me almost 6 hours.  It is very detailed and I made an error at the mid point and had to spend an extra hour or more to carefully remove some stitching.  That's what I get for turning my back and letting the machine go on "auto pilot" while I showered for work.  I'm now starting to think about borders.  Going to have to look at some more nautical fabrics to audition.  I'm thinking of doing several different borders with a solid in between so that I don't distract from the picture it self.  I am hoping that I can finish it this weekend.  Today is a busy day with TNT block of the month class and also EQ club, so more of a "learning and spending" Friday with the girls.  Happy Sewing!  Carole

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Beach Tile Scene Block 4

With Row 1 complete, it is now on to the "beach and sand" section starting with row two.    I have not been sleeping again, so it is nice to have the distraction, but......  I'd really like to be getting some sleep.  Two - three hours each night is just not enough.  Of course, if I sleep, when would I possibly get time to sew.    Work is still taking about 12 hours a day so, I guess it's a trade off.  I'm anxious to get to the sand castle since I found some fabric that is going to look really great.  This block has less than 50,000 stitches and a little applique.  The next couple blocks on this row are stitch intensive, so things may slow up.   The picture below shows how the blocks are all starting to form a picture.  Happy Sewing!  Carole

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Beach Scene Block 3

Block 3 seemed really fast and easy even though the stitch count was around 42,000.  The clouds in the background took up a good portion of that and I was able to get some other things done while it was stitching this portion.  I have a baby monitor set up next to the machine and I attach the mobile part of the set to me or set it wherever else I may be in the house. When I hear something other than the normal hum of my machine, I just go check on things.  We all get familiar with how our own machines sound, so even the smallest of strange noises will have me go to the other side of the house to see what is going on.  My husband, not aware of my little trick was trying to figure out what this noise was and thought our air conditioner had taken a turn for the worse until I showed him the use for yet another of my gadgets.  I think I got the set on clearance and it even will tell me the temperature in the room where my sewing machine is.  Can't have it getting too warm, can I?  I am ready to start the next row of blocks and I am anxious to get to the sand castle.  Below, is a picture of all three blocks put together so far.  The detail is amazing and very dimentional.  Happy Sewing!  Carole

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Beach Scene Block 2

I found it fitting that the week I am working on this Beach Scene, that quite a few of my family members are actually spending time at the beach while I'm here having to just sew one. I keep seeing pictures and notes from them on facebook. (Such teases they are). While I do enjoy every moment that I can find time to sew, really being there also sounds pretty good. Okay, on to block two. This block of the beach scene has alot of detail. Just shy of 56,000 stitches, it took a little over 3 hours. Some of the stitching is very dense in places for the shading and I did encounter some "thread shread", but I used a little sewers aid and it solved the problem. There is a surprise color (Madeira 1059) at color #24. It is on the color guide sheet for the block, but omitted on the master color list. So, if any of you are in the gathering and organizing stages of doing this design, make note now. Not a big deal as most of us that embroider have enough thread in many shades that we could stitch most any design without having to purchase any more.  Here is a picture of the block all by itself and then blocks 1 and 2 together.  Gotta love the detail of the design.  I'm hoping to start on block 3 some time today after a few hours at the office.  Happy Sewing!  Carole

Friday, June 4, 2010

Beach Scene Block 1

This is block 1 of the Beach Scene that I started today.  The detail is quite nice and it was an easy so out.  This is another picture quilt designed by Steve at Anita Goodesign.  This block had just about 33,000 stitches and took several hours.  There are 9 blocks to complete the picture.  I am trying some pre-wound bobbins and now I am wondering why it took me so long to use these wonderful little things after all these years.  I doubt I will ever wind another bobbin on my own unless it is to do bobbin work using the same color as the top thread.  These pre-wound bobbins last more than twice as long and the thread does not seem to produce much lint.  I never had to change the bobbin for this whole block and still have almost half left on the spool.  The box I bought works for both my machines.  Pure luck on that one!  Gosh, it does not take much to make me happy does it?  Happy Sewing!  Carole

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

BEACH Scene! Just Gotta Do IT!

As most of my friends know, besides family, friends and work, two things that I love to do are travel and spend time in my sewing room doing embroidery, quilting or a combination of both.  My husband and I have sailed around the world, visited all the continents and enjoyed a great many days on the ocean.  We just completed cruise number 28 and are looking to where number 29 could take us.  When this new design came out from Anita Goodesign this month, I knew I had to do it.  Just looking at it will remind me of all the wonderful and fun places we have been so fortunate to visit.  I have done the painstaking part of prep work (gathering fabric and all the thread colors to make the shading just right).  I have stabilized my fabrics and am now ready to begin the process of sewing out a picture.  I am hoping to start the first block on Friday.  I think the estimated stitch count is 540,000 for the size I'm going to do.  There are 9 blocks that will complete the picture and I will have to most likely do them in sections because of my work schedule.  I will be able to judge more once I get going.  I always enjoy doing this type of design. Happy Sewing!  Carole